Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Lee Westwood and Bob Knott  (EuropeanTour)
Lee Westwood and Bob Knott (EuropeanTour)

Bob Knott, who has died suddenly, aged 65, was a champion golfer and international course designer who was the construction manager of the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates where the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World is played as the finale to The Race to Dubai on The European Tour International Schedule.

Knott, who lived in Devon, was associated with Churston Golf Club for most of his life although in 2005 he headed out to the United Arab Emirates to work for Leisurecorp, the company developing Dubai’s leading residential golf community at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

What Knott’s friends thought would be a three year contract ran to almost five years and he watched a dream unfold as on the Earth Course the inaugural Dubai World Championship took place in November, 2009, and Lee Westwood (pictured with Bob) won the title and secured The Race to Dubai.

George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Bob Knott was a lovely man who became a wonderful friend of The European Tour and we offer our sincere condolences to his wife, Sue, and their children, Alex and Ben. Bob was at the forefront of the design and development of the Earth Course with Greg Norman and his team, and the course has now played host to two wonderful Dubai World Championships.”

Knott, who won 11 Churston club championships and played off scratch for more than 40 years, captured the Devon Open – a competition open to professionals and amateurs – in 2003. He became captain of Devon in 1980 and 30 years later he was still playing county golf as a member of the Devon Seniors team in the Channel League. His last match for the team was in a win over Somerset last September which secured the league title. He was also extremely proud of the fact that he played for the English seniors golf team in 2005.

Knott was attracted to the golf and the business of course design after playing football for Torquay United A side in the early 1960s, and he was highly respected by people in the game.

Brian Huggett, the 1977 Ryder Cup captain, said: “Bob was a terrific guy and a good friend. He worked for me as a project manager on several courses including Orchard Leigh in Somerset and The Lakes Course at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and my condolences go to his wife Sue and their family.”

The Memorial Service for Bob Knott is at St Mathias Church, Wellswood, Torquay, on Friday, March 4, at 2.30pm. Donations, please, to Childrens’ Hospice South West, C/O Little Bridge House, Reblands Road, Fremington, Barnstaple, EX31 2PZ.

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